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Section 11 audits

Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships have a Statutory Duty to assess whether agencies in their area are fulfilling their statutory obligation to safeguard and promote the welfare of children as described in ‘Section 11 of the Children Act 2004’.

Hull Safeguarding Children’s Partnership has made a commitment that the Section 11 audit process –

  • is an ongoing process rather than a stand-alone event
  • will engage directly with organisations and settings in order to gain a deeper understanding of the strengths and challenges experienced by organisations across Hull
  • provides a platform for good practice to be shared 

About Section 11 audits

While everyone shares a responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a statutory duty on a number of key agencies and organisations to –
 
‘Ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’
 
The Section 11 duty means that the key people and bodies must make arrangements to ensure two things –

  • that their functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  • that the services they contract out (commission) to others are provided having regard to that need

The duty does not give agencies any new functions, nor does it override their existing functions. Rather, it requires them to carry out their existing functions in a way which takes into account the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Who Section 11 audits apply to

Section 11 audit applies to the following agencies –

  • local authorities
  • district councils
  • NHS organisations including the NHS commissioning board and clinical commissioning groups, NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts
  • the police (including the British Transport Police)
  • the Probation service
  • Governors and Directors of Prisons and Young offenders institutions
  • youth offending teams and services
  • secure training centres
  • private and voluntary organisations
  • Early years and child care services
  • Faith organisations

What Should These Organisations Have in Place?

These organisations should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including –

  • A clear line of accountability for the commissioning and/or provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  • A senior board level lead to take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements
  • A culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in  individual decisions and the development of services
  • Arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information, with other professionals and with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCP)
  • A designated professional lead (or, for health provider organisations, named professionals) for safeguarding. Their role is to support other professionals in their agencies to recognise the needs of children, including responding to possible abuse or neglect. Designated professional roles should always be explicitly defined in job descriptions. Professionals should be given sufficient time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their child welfare and safeguarding responsibilities effectively
  • Safe recruitment practices for individuals whom the organisation will permit to work regularly with children, including policies on when to obtain a criminal record check
  • Appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training
  • Employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role
  • Staff should be given a mandatory induction, which includes familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and procedures to be followed if anyone has any concerns about a child’s safety or welfare
  • All professionals should have regular reviews of their own practice to ensure they improve over time
  • Clear policies in line with those from the LSCP for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who has –
    • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child
    • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
    • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children
  • In addition –
    • County level and unitary local authorities should have a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to be involved in the management and oversight of individual cases. The LADO should provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations, liaising with the police and other agencies and monitoring the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process
    • Any allegation should be reported immediately to a senior manager within the organisation. The LADO should also be informed within one working day of all allegations that come to an employer’s attention or that are made directly to the police; and
    • If an organisation removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work such as looking after children (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring

Further Guidance and Toolkits

The Section 11 toolkit is a supportive self-evaluation process allowing each agency to identify the standards that they meet and those where further actions are needed.

For advice or a toolkit, please send an email to [email protected]